Stop PEI Government Abuse of Federal Disaster Funds

Guest contributor : Sharon Labchuk

The Prince Edward Island Department of Transportation plans to take half a million dollars from the federal government to rebuild an old obsolete rural bridge damaged by Tropical Storm Dorian last fall. There is no reason whatsoever to rebuild the bridge except to unethically take advantage of a federal disaster assistance program meant to help provinces with actual disasters, not manufactured ones.

Construction is slated to begin the week of May 11, 2020.

The  heavily forested land on the far side of Gunn’s Bridge on the Trout River in Millvale, Queens County is easily accessed by landowners via another road close by, making the bridge completely unnecessary. Between snow and mud, the unpaved seasonal roads on the far side are only accessible a few months of the year.

The bridge,and the causeway that throttles the river, along with several steep unpaved seasonal roads converging at the bridge all contribute to siltation of the Trout River in violation of the federal Fisheries Act. Compromised even before the storm, the causeway and bridge need to be removed and the river allowed to run free.

This project comes at great risk to PEI taxpayers, as the province must first foot the bill for construction and then apply to the federal government for reimbursement, with no guarantees.

Tell PEI Minister of Transportation Steven Myers to abandon this project and instead help the Trout River by removing the old bridge and causeway. And ask Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair to deny funding for this manufactured disaster.